When is the last time you looked long and hard into your spouse’s eyes? Do you remember what you saw?
A few years ago I started to notice a dimming in the eyes of my dear Araya Sunshine. I saw it, but didn’t know what to do to help. I would walk out the door to work with a bounce in my step while she stayed home to take on the beautiful, but difficult challenge of being a mom to 3 very young children.
She was an amazing mom then, and she is an amazing mom now.
I was a very engaged dad and husband, but I wasn’t the one at home most days experiencing what every stay-at-home parent knows to be true. It’s hard work, and when I looked into her eyes they were telling me something.
The eyes are a window to the soul.
The beautiful Araya Sunshine was experiencing a drain on her soul. A drain that every stay-at-home parent knows. A drain I didn’t understand, and that I hadn't fully experienced because I got to go pursue my dreams everyday. She didn't get to pursue her dreams everyday.
She was willing to lay her dreams aside so I could pursue mine.
We kept moving forward one-day-at-a-time because we didn't know what else to do. Ever felt that way?
Then one year ago this month Araya and I felt our hearts being stirred to leave Oregon. We started looking at jobs primarily for me, but we couldn't seem to find the right fit for our family.
I asked Araya one morning, “Honey, if you could move anywhere, where would you like to move?”
With almost no hesitation she said, “Nashville!”
Now, this is not the first time I had asked her this question, but it was the first time she had answered so quickly.
I paused for a moment as I heard Nashville roll off her lips, because I saw a new flicker of light in her eyes. I knew I needed to pay attention to that flicker of light. Araya is a wonderfully gifted American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter who loves to interpret music. If you didn’t know, Nashville is known as music city.
We both committed to praying about Nashville. Later that day I headed to a Men’s retreat, while Araya called some friends in the Nashville music industry to see what work she might be able to do.
On day 2 of the retreat I was introduced to a man named Daniel Harkavy. Daniel is an executive coach and author of the book Living Forward. With courage and humility Daniel challenged us with Paul’s writings in Ephesians 5:25,
“Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”
He said, “Guys, as husbands who love our wives, we need to take nails for them.”
It was a "wake up call" and knew what I needed to do.
Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to lay your life down for your friends.”
She is my best friend, and I knew to love her was to encourage her to pursue her dreams. I decided in my heart not tell her about my experience, but to simply go with her where she wanted to go.
When I came back from that retreat, Araya and I had dinner to celebrate 14-years of marriage. While enjoying our unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks she told me the results of her phone calls to Nashville.
Door after door opened for her to be able to use her gift of ASL in Music city. She was giddy while telling me of all the connections she had made, and all the job opportunities in front of her.
I just sat and listened with a big grin when suddenly she reached across the table and grabbed my hand.
She looked me in the eyes, and said, “You know what I love about this plan? My dream is wrapped up in this too.”
Let me tell you her eyes were glowing, here eyes were full, and it was a window into her soul.
Today, nearly 10 months later, we are living in Nashville, and she is still glowing.
I don’t know what my job will be here yet, but I know she walks out the door with a bounce in her step and a sparkle in her eye. I know I change a lot of diapers, do a lot of vacuuming, and cook a lot of dinners. It’s beautiful, and it’s challenging, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
She is glowing and dreaming like I haven’t seen in 8 years. As I look at her today, I see God’s glory shining in her eyes, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to “Take some Nails.”
1-Take some time tonight to look in each others eyes. Look long and hard. What do you see? How is your soul?
2-Husbands, are there some plans you need to lay aside? Do you know her dreams?
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